The Pretoria Boys High School has launched an investigation following the emergence of a video on social media showing some of its learners making racist statements.
The 12-second video shows a Grade 12 learner allegedly using racist and offensive language while smiling and laughing. The others also laughed afterwards.
The first part of the video is unclear because of the background noise, but it later becomes clearer as the learner makes the offensive remarks. It is not clear when the incident occurred.
The learner who posted it on social media said he was initially scared to post it for fear of being expelled from the school.
But the school later posted a statement reassuring him “we noticed you feel you may be expelled for posting racially offensive posts by some learners. We wish to assure you this is not the case. We are taking the necessary action against those concerned. Stay safe and we look forward to your return to school.”
Spokesperson of the Gauteng Department of Education Steve Mabona said the unfortunate matter had been reported to them. “The governing body has launched an investigation and necessary disciplinary action will be taken accordingly,” he said.
The school said the matter was brought to the attention of the headmaster, Tony Reeler, late on Sunday.
He had then referred it to the department the next morning.
The investigation into the posts were conducted and parents of the boys contacted. Meetings with parents were also held within 24 hours of the matter being brought to the school’s attention.
“The disciplinary hearings will be carried out by the disciplinary sub-committee of the school governing body consisting of three parents and one school teacher. In addition, the disciplinary committee will be representative in terms of race and gender.
“The disciplinary process is governed by the South African Schools Act. The committee will present its findings to the Gauteng Education Department in due course,” the school said.
“Pretoria Boys High School takes these incidents extremely seriously and we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of these learners.”
While most parents agreed the act was wrong they blamed the learners’ parents. “These kids come with racist behaviours from home and display them at school,” said a parent.
Another commended the school for taking leadership and action but said they had no control over such behaviour. “This learnt behaviour comes from the source, which is home. The school shouldn’t be blamed for this inexcusable conduct.”
There were some who urged that social media refrained from holding the disciplinary hearing and allow the school and the department to see the matter through.